An authority in the Sierra Leone Correctional Service (SLCS) has disclosed that the institution has sacked eighteen officers.
This disclosure was made by Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Mohamed Opito Jimmy, Public Relations Officer SLCS following a case of a notoriety of a certain Taiwo Lambert who claimed that she was illegally dismissed from the Service and has not been given or paid her benefit.
In an exclusive social media interview, Opito said that the decision to sack the Officers was not taken arbitrarily but in consonance with the rule of law.
He said: “SLCS is working directly with Civil Service Code which in 1133 states that if an Officer absent his or herself from duty for 21 days without excuse or written document, they need to by charged. Secondly, if an Officer fails to appear for duty, the institution will impose D161 in order to stop that Officer’s pay, bear it in mind that all officers are paid in their various banks.”
The PRO explained that Taiwo Lambert, who had served for over thirty years in the Service absented herself from duty since 2009 until when her name appeared in the Sierra Leone Gazette that her position was declared vacant before she appeared adding that such situation is akin to the other seventeen dismissed workers.
Confirming the number of sacked workers, Mohamed Opito Jimmy said that the names of eighteen Correctional Officers where Gazette as being dropped out of the SLCS.
Responding to the question, if the dismissed Officers will get benefit, the PRO said: “that is a question for HRMO and NASSIT.”
According to Osman Kamara NASSIT’s Communication and Media Director, “contributors must have attained the pensionable age of sixty years and a contributor must have contributed to the scheme for a minimum fifteen years. If a contributor does not meet these requirements, it means that he or she is not pensionable,”
Speaking on the braoder implciation of the dismisal of the eighteen officers, the PRO said that Officers need to work as they are paid with Sierra Leonean tax payer’s money.
Apparently, it is the believed that there are some other Officers that are also not working but are covered by their superiors and some people do hold the view that the sacking of the eighteen officers could be a case of scape-goatizng; and an act of selective justice, but the PRO disagreed.
He said: “Every Correctional Center out of the nineteen we have is controlled by a Manager and therefore, if he or she do not report such, the institution will hold them to task and we do not have any report like that for now.”
Opito Jimmy however stressed that once an Officer’s position has been declared vacant in the Gazette it means that that officer is not part of the Correctional Service.
“It is published in the Gazette because we want the public to know that they are no more members of the institution,” he underlined.
The PRO nonetheless had these words of caution for lethargic officers and their sympathizers: “We don’t need to be personal when it comes to national issues because people will continue to do things just because they have influence; and then nothing will be right in the country.
We are paid to serve this nation. I am doing my work every day that is why when journalists like you are in need of information, I am always in a position to supply it because it is the duty of my position. Had I decided to sit at home and don’t come to work, will you get the correct information from SLCS? People must do the work that they are being paid to do.”